Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I recently read about a scientific discovery that claims our brains are plastic. Not the kind of plastic that dad complains about, but neuroplastic.
Traditional thinking asserts that our brains become wired when we're young and all the neurons and synapses and dendrites set like cement, eventually turning us all into stiff, angry, old people.
The idea itself is not that new. There are books out there that tell you how to train your brain and keep it active and all that, but the book I saw -- I can't remember the title at the moment -- says our brains can be physically altered by how we choose to think well into our adult lives. We can change it.
I've always suspected it, but of course I'm a genius.
A few weeks before I read about it, I was at work. It was a slow day and I was thinking how cool it would be if ninjas came cartwheeling down the hall and I heroically saved everyone I liked, while a select few got a Chinese throwing star to the forehead. The reason it's safe to think that is because ninjas will never have a reason to infiltrate a work area that touts paper cuts as its number one hazard.
Long story short, I decided to try an experiment. Every time I felt the boredom coming on I would tell myself that I was happy by thinking of good memories. Soon I was flooding my brain every five minutes with surges of happy neurons. (Yes, the job is that boring. Not every ten minutes. Every five.)
So in conclusion, our brains are plastic and you can make them happy if you want. Isn't that the best news ever? Now everyone go flood your brains.
To help you with ideas, here is a short list of memories John used in his experiment
1. On the road to Spicer in the Nature Wagon in July with no air conditioner
2. Trip to South Dakota in the Nature Wagon in July with no air conditioner
3. Looking for agates at Camp Cuyuna
4. Eating ice cream and watching Friday Night Videos
5. Making home movies with a gigantic video camera